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Summary:

One of the most common questions I get from readers is, “What’s a good online task management system?” There are several to choose from, but Remember The Milk is always on my list. The basic task functionality is free, and it integrates with my Gmail account. […]

ss_push2One of the most common questions I get from readers is, “What’s a good online task management system?” There are several to choose from, but Remember The Milk is always on my list. The basic task functionality is free, and it integrates with my Gmail account. The advanced features will cost you, though, and for that reason, some folks shy away from it. But if you pay $25 per year for the Pro account, you can use the free iPhone application in lieu of the web client.

Version 1.1.0 of the RTM software for iPhone and iPod Touch devices includes push notifications, which might provide the tipping point for folks to grab a Pro account. Essentially, your task alerts will get pushed to your iPhone and pop up on your device at the time you set. Non-Pro account users can try the iPhone app free for 15 days.

I’ve enjoyed my free RTM account for several years, but this new feature has me thinking of upgrading my account. I’ve been holding off on choosing one, and only one, task management platform because I haven’t found the perfect one to meet my needs. I’ve looked at OmniFocus, Things, Gmail’s Tasks, you name it. I need a task manager I can actively use when online at a computer or when out and about with just a phone. It has to be cost-effective, simple and configurable. Plus, it needs to remind me when a task is due, wherever I am and on whatever device I’m using at the time. I’m creating a task to give this some additional thought, but the inclusion of push notifications has me leaning towards RTM.

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  1. Is there any Exchange/Outlook interoperability?

  2. As far as I can tell there is no direct sync with outlook. You can sync them to a WinMo phone via MilkSync which would then sync to outlook/exchange. Or you can subscribe to your to do list’s iCal feed in outlook and get them in your calendar that way.

    I’m a heavy exchange user but find I prefer using the RTM website better anyway. Much more flexible that Outlook. You can do amazing things with tags and smart lists on the website and in the iPhone app.

    I was a happy RTM free user for some time and I’m now a happy RTM Pro user. I use the website and the iPhone app and have reminders sent via email and push.

  3. I would add that the app must provide an option for persistent reminders for overdue tasks. If I was supposed to complete a report yesterday and did not, I expect to be reminded the next day and every day at the pre-set time until I mark it complete. If it can’t do that, no thanks.

    No phone I’ve used has had that basic tasks functionality since I left the Palm OS Treos.

    1. The native Task app of the Palm Pre actually does give me a pesky, but needed reminder of past overdue tasks. I have one task that I keep putting off and everyday, it appears in the notifications area.

  4. Have you tried Toodledo? They have a great iPhone client that is very affordable, their free package in the web is very full featured, their developer is quite responsive to his customers, and their paid package starts in at $15/yr. Its a good alternative to RTM if it meets your needs.

    –Ken

  5. planetmagazine Sunday, July 5, 2009

    I’m successfully using a personal project and task-mgmt system on iPhone for a couple of months now. Here’s what I use: Toodledo website (free version, which is all I need), which I can update at home or at work; Toodledo Outlook Sync application from Chromatic Dragon (free, but I paid $5 anyway, and use this at home); and Todo from Appigo on the iPhone, which synchs to the website). Thus I can keep the website, my iPhone, and Outlook in synch. There is a Todo Lite version, but it allows only a limited number of tasks. Of course, the system is only as good as the regular attention I pay to it, but so far I haven’t found anything else that works for me.

    1. BTW, the Todo non-Lite version is $10, but it’s worth it to me.

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